Audubon Connecticut’s Urban Oases partners gathered at West River Memorial Park in New Haven Connecticut, to celebrate the honor of seeing the Urban Oases project in the New Haven Harbor Watershed, designated as an Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service., and to be recognized as a national model for community-based conservation on Wednesday, October 30, 2013.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Director, Dan Ashe, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 5 Director, Wendi Weber; came to town for this ceremony, designating Audubon Connecticut’s Urban Oases Program in New Haven as one of only eight Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships in the country!
Per Dan Ashe, Director, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Services “National wildlife refuges are the best of America’s wild places, but many are not near major metropolitan areas. Most Americans have grown up without a real connection to the outdoors and wildlife, and the Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative gives us a chance to change that. We believe these unique urban partnerships can inspire the imagination and create a connected conservation constituency of people who are aware, understand and support fish and wildlife conservation.”
Stewart J. Hudson, Vice President & Executive Director, Audubon Connecticut said “Audubon believes that where birds thrive, so do people. Through land stewardship, habitat creation, citizen science, youth employment, green jobs training, innovative education programs and natural history interpretation, the partners in our New Haven Urban Oases program are working to create a network of wildlife-and people_ friendly natural refuges in parks, school yards, and front yards throughout the City.”
The Service’s Urban Refuge Initiative was launched to increase awareness, understanding, and support of the USFWS, the National Wildlife Refuge System, and natural resource conservation. In keeping with those goals, Audubon Connecticut’s New Haven Urban Oases program is a collaborative effort to create a matrix of high quality habitats for birds and wildlife, engage children and youth in hands on conservation while providing new educational opportunities, and enhancing public and private spaces throughout the City.
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe elaborates, “We must reach out into our cites to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to develop a true connection with wild things and wild places. Our Urban Wildlife Refugee Partnership will help us engage communities where we haven’t had much of a presence.”
Common Ground High School students listen in to fellow student, Michael Bruno.
In May 2013 the New Haven Harbor Watershed partnership competed nationally for recognition under the Fish and Wildlife Services’ Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative. The designation is a formal recognition of excellence. It took a virtual army of volunteers from at least seven regional and national organizations. Their work is ongoing and the funding secured so far enables the partnership to continue with plans to expand their efforts.
New Haven Harbor Watershed Program partners include: Audubon Connecticut, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (with Director Dan Ashe and Region 5 Director Wendi Weber), EPA Long Island Sound Study, City of New Haven Public Schools and Department of Parks, Recreation and Trees, New Haven Park Friends Groups, Common Ground High School and Environmental Education Center, New Haven Urban Resources Initiative, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and community partners.
Students from Common Ground High School and Hill House High School help plant trees and maintain gardens at schools, park, vacant lots and public and private front yards.
National recognition of a promising partnership brings smiles to the faces of some of the key partners and all who attended this celebration could sense the pride of achievement for all those who worked so hard to make this happen.
Stewart J. Hudson, Vice President & Executive Director, Audubon Connecticut congratulates local New Haven students who each read a short piece of creative writing on what the Urban Oases means to them. It is evident that Mr. Hudson and Audubon Connecticut are deeply committed to the partnership and the promise of the future. Audubon Connecticut has brought lofty conservation ideas and is implementing them on the local level in a big way. If the considerable efforts expended so far are any indication, the New Haven Harbor Watershed, Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be in the national eye for years to come. We all have something to gain from efforts like these.
If your intertested in Part 1 Click here. Urban Wildlife Oases in New Haven CT.